Heart Disease and African American Women
What African-American Women Should Know About Heart Disease
African-American women are at greater risk for heart disease than Caucasian women. In fact, the death rate from heart disease is 35 percent higher among African-American women than among their white counterparts.
Why? The medical community has no easy answers.
The first step is knowledge and understanding specific risk factors and how they relate to heart disease for African-American women. These may include:
- Two-thirds of all African-American women are either overweight or obese.
- Diabetes, the fastest-growing risk factor for heart disease in this country, is more prevalent among African-American women than Caucasian women
- Nine percent of Caucasian women between the ages of 45 and 54, have diabetes compared to 15 percent of African-American women. The difference is even higher between the ages 55 and 64 where 15 percent of Caucasians have diabetes compared to 30 percent for their African-America counterparts
- The death rate from diabetes is 167 percent higher for African-American than Caucasian women.
High Blood Pressure:
- Even a slightly high level doubles the risk of heart disease making the heart work harder to get the job done. Twice as many African-American women have high blood pressure as Caucasian women, significantly increasing the risk of heart disease. Diet, lifestyle, and exercise all factor into high blood pressure rates.
In sharing with the federal government’s goal for African-Americans and other minorities to be as healthy as Caucasians by the year 2010, the MedStar Washington Hospital Center and MedStar Heart Institute continue its pursue its goal to reduce heart disease among African-American women.